There are days in my life where I wonder what some unknown person would perceive of me if they were cast in the role of a "Peeping Tom". What would they see when they looked in the windows that is my life?
How would their perception of me truly look like? Would they have any pertinent information about me before I became the person they see before them? Or would they be blinded-folded to my past history as they were told to draw their conclusions upon what they observe? Basically judging the book by the cover in a fashion. One can not simply "know" these things without the facts, because it is only part of the equation. We humans are rather good at making judgements of other that surround us. We are quick to speculate about one another, to believe rumors and take gossip as facts. We all do it - I have done it. And it got me thinking.
While the rains pour most prevalent around here, I spend my days doing a number of things, as a great number of us do. They would almost seem indulgent in nature if one was to look in the window at me. They would see me at the dining room table elbows deep in some sort of quilt related chore. Rather it be piecing on the machine or ironing fabrics that are not for wearing at all. This person might see me clacking away on my keyboard that is in front of the seeming lavish TV that is actually small in comparison to what other watch on. This is where my senseless pecking belongs as I write up any number of things: from pattern testing feed back, to book reviews and connecting to friends & family in the ever changing world of social media. It might look like I'm - by all appearances - just lounging about and partaking in leisurely endeavors of the long lost needle arts type things from a time that is not of our own. A book might even be seen in my lap as I pet the cat on my lap as the house looks "lived" in.
They might shake their heads with exasperation as they walk a way. Thinking "how lazy that one looks to be." or some other far-fetched nonsense. Thinking I should be out at a job, or that the house should be in a state of constant cleaning spic and span. And that I should be making such elaborated meals that would have a multitude of courses to rival a Michelin Star restaurant. Maybe in their minds, I should be capable of looking like the cleverly clad house wife, June Cleaver; in a size 4 crinoline skirts, pearls & high heel shoes, or any other of those TV sitcom 1950's house wives, as there is no reason not to in their minds. I should have a smile on my face, my hair carefully coiffed and in impeccable make-up as I joyfully push the brand new and latest model vacuum cleaner about. How disappointed they must be?
Instead they do find me doing all those things without the benefit of Mrs. Cleaver's attire. I mean ... really? No itchy crinolines or high heels here. That I'm not in the mood to subject myself to the sadistic ritual of squeezing my toes in to shoes that also are causing blisters on my heels on a daily basis. And don't get me started on the likes of panty hoses! This was a man's invention and a devise to torture women in my opinion!! Now don't get me wrong, I will wear the fancy attire when that situation deems it necessary. But most days it's a t-shirt, a pair of sweat pants and a haphazard pony tail.
But what most people don't realize is I am the oldest of 3 daughters. My mother suffered from chronic and acute migraine headaches that would send her to bed for days on end. Which means I was the one running the household at a young age. I learned how to plan a months worth of meals, do all the shopping in one trip with 2 shopping carts. I could cook almost everything to mother's satisfaction, clean military style that could pass any unannounced white-glove inspections, do the laundry; rather it be on a wash board in the cement sink, the wringer washer that we had at one time or the more modern machines. And then these were the bane of my ironing chores - my father's BDU's. There at most times animals to care for, gardens that needed tending and a never-ending list of "to do's "; all the while going to school. I also had to assist my sister's with their homework. And not just high school. I'm talking almost all of my school career. And then there is the fact we was constantly moving around all the time.
I was working as a babysitter in high school for the neighbor and I was working "real" jobs too, when I was 15 thru a school program that had students working to clean up local schools and the grounds that they were on. It was hard back breaking work. I can still remember the rooms in the basement with broken desk sets, chalk boards. Then there was walls, lockers and bathrooms that needed to have the graffiti removed, every thing that needed fresh coats of paint and coal chutes that needed to be removed. These all nasty dirty jobs. And then I would have to walk home from one side of Ecourse to the other end.
Now when you look at me, you don't see the weekly injections that I have to do in order to function in my normal day to day world. You don't see the laser treatments along the lower spine I also endure for pain. You might see me limp or hear the sharp intake of air as things pop, pull or otherwise causes pain when I try to do the simple things like walking or standing. How many times have you seen me fall because my knees or ankles gave way? I bet you didn't see those 6 needles I had to endure when the doctor shoved into them my occipital nerves on my skull to block the headaches for 20 days at a one time. Or the tears that fell in the process.
You might not have noticed the small scar on my throat from a surgery six months ago that was done to remove half of my thyroid so that I could do the simple things like breathe, drink, eat, sleep or even take my medications. It was also the main reason I weigh what I do these days. It's hard to exercise when all your joints are either inflamed or grating on each other because the cartilage is bugled or missing. Let us not forget that the tingling & burning sensation in my hands & toes that feel like the are being attacked under the skin out of sight. Or that sometimes my right thigh feels like it was set on fire. When I wake up - my arms and legs are numb. So while it looks like I'm just wasting the day away; the reality is I'm waiting for things to calm down so that I can simply sit up.
Now what might look like I'm a lazy person to some, they don't realize that I worked for 20+ years as a waitress, security officer at an automobile plant, a postal carrier, and mail sorter in the distribution plant while having 3 kids. That with 3 living children I had I experienced the grief and loss of 3 more. While I did not finish raising my daughter's and I'm now a single woman that shares custody of my son, I tried my best by them. I have been a victim of all know types of abuse for almost 35 of my 43 years on this earth. That putting my self "out there" is the most challenging thing I do on a daily basis. Trust and fear are difficulties that I deal with everyday. That I spent most of my life being invisible. That "out of site - out of mind" was not a motto, but a life style of surviving. That being in busy, crowded places can send me in to a debilitating panic at a moments notice. My eyes automatically finds more than one way in and out where ever I have to go. That I don't place my back to a door, but in a corner whenever I physically can.
So if you see me doing things like not working at a J.O.B., and doing what appears to be a life of leisure in your eyes. Just know that I deal with my struggles in my own fashion. That doing these perceived luxuries are actually forms of therapy and was encouraged by my doctors. Rather they be physical or mental. Because so far, I have managed to stay out of the wheel chair that I would be in before my 30th birthday that was predicted in my late teens/early 20's. Or that the doctors figured I might not even be here in this world because I took the easy path in their opinion. Just because I don't have a missing limb or any other visual handicap the can be seen, don't I'm not handicapped in some another means.
I am in my own way a strong and determined person when I need be. I have fought tooth and nail for every breath I take figurative and literally. I continue to fighting and will keep on doing so with my own inner physical and mental demons on a day by day basis. There are things that happened that I wished didn't but it won't change how things are. I have watched a man that I love struggle and then die from brain cancer. I watch my children in their own struggles - knowing that I can't do much more for them but to stand there and watch it happen.
So what you might see as you look in that window, is not my whole story. While you may think you know me - you don't really know me. As for me, I learning not to throw stones in a glass house. I'm learning to change my perception of the people that I come across because I don't know their whole stories either. I know that while my other half is not a movie star, we love each other in our own quiet way and that we are more companion material then marriage material. I'm working it out while facing the reality of both of our health challenges. My life these days is the result of all the decisions I made or didn't make in the past. They are the results of my cause & effects consequences that I did. Things will always be that way.
So now as I stand here, I ask you please put down you rocks and I'll put down mine; and either walk away or perhaps I'll ask you about those shoes that you walk in. I think it's is time to work on changing what perceptions I might have and hope that you might too.
Until next time ...